MRS. O’DONNELL is an English teacher at JP and has been teaching at various schools across Edison for the past 35 years. She earned her masters degree at Grand Canyon University, and has several certificates for teaching students with special needs. Mrs. O’Donnell’s passion for teaching was inspired by an experience during her junior year of high school, when she attended a camp for aiding mentally and physically disabled children. At the camp, she enjoyed her time with the children so much that she realized that this was the career path she wanted to pursue. Mrs. O’Donnell loves to travel as a hobby, and has been to many countries throughout her life. She says that she is able to learn a good deal from each place she visits. Her favorite country to date is Italy because of its beautiful landscapes and rich history. Throughout her years of teaching, Mrs. O’Donnell has always tried to inspire her students and encourage them.
By VISWANATH NAIR, freshman
MRS. PALKO has been a nurse at JP Stevens for 20 years. She was born in New Jersey, and grew up in Edison Township. She is an alumnus of JP Stevens. After graduating from JP, she received her associate’s degree at Middlesex County College in nursing and became a labor and delivery nurse for 15 years before coming to JPS. Since coming to JP her job consists of assisting injured students and providing aid during medical emergencies. When asked what she loved the most about JP, Ms. Palko said, “It’s the people, the students, and my colleagues.” Ms. Palko has a deep appreciation for the environment cultivated at JP, and it has been what she has cherished the most for the past 20 years. Mrs. Palko enjoys traveling by motorcycle with her husband Michael, and likes to spend time with friends and family. Finally, she concludes, “Enjoy this fabulous journey, I want students to follow their dreams, and whatever their hearts desire.”
By APURV JAYKUMAR, sophomore
MR. PISPECKY is the Edison Township Visual Arts and Music supervisor. After getting a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Glassboro State College (now Rowan University), he went on to get a Master’s Degree in Conducting and Educational Administration from The College of New Jersey. Mr. Pispecky was previously a band director for grades 7-12 and then moved on to administration. One of his main goals as a director was to be a more effective advocate for the subjects in schools. He felt inspired by his talented conductors and decided that he would aim to be like them too. He says that he will miss “watching the light bulb turn on” when someone suddenly understands something. He will also miss being able to work with new teachers and his staff He hopes to take the path less traveled during his retirement. He will be working with certain colleges and music stores, and would like to remind his students and staff to “stick to it, focus, and do not give up.”
By ADITYA BHANGALE, sophomore
MRS. PITTENGER has been a chemistry teacher here at JP for 19 years, and will be the Supervisor of 21st Century Life Skills in the Edison Township School District. She has enjoyed working with the staff and students at JP. “Enjoy the years you get to walk down the hallways of JPS, they will be gone before you know it!” says Mrs. Pittenger. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in environmental science from Rutgers University and a master’s degree in educational technology from Ramapo College. She emphasizes the importance of studying and asking questions in order to succeed in studying chemistry at a high level. By making her students think critically and perform various laboratory experiments, Mrs. Pittenger has made chemistry extremely memorable, enjoyable, and meaningful. Ultimately, she hopes to inspire her students to become the next great thinkers of the world and wants them all to be able to say “Wow, I learned something!”
By ABHINAV VAYYETI, Sophomore
MS. RICH has been a teacher at JP Stevens for 21 years, leading the theatre company in addition to teaching theatre and public speaking. She has a degree in Theatre and Performance from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts along with a degree in Literature from Rutgers University. Although she originally aimed to become a physical education teacher in college, a car accident made it difficult to follow that path, eventually leading Ms. Rich to theatre. Her favorite part of being a teacher has been watching students grow not only as performers but also as human beings. Heading into retirement, Ms. Rich is excited to be able to go on vacation and hopes to visit new countries like Greece and India. Additionally, she wants to cook, bake and garden more in her free time. When asked what she hoped for her students, she said, “As people, I want them to be the best expression of a human being. As performers, to have fun and tell the story.”
By ADITYA BHANGALE, sophomore
MRS. SANTORO is a retiring district-wide world languages supervisor. She attended American University for her undergrad, Kean University for her masters, and Rutgers University for courses in supervision. She has been working in education for 40 years. She started as a certified French teacher and later transitioned to English as a Second Language. She has served as the district supervisor for World Languages from grades K through 12 and is also a supervisor of ESL. She works with people of all ages and people that originate from different areas of the world and enjoys the sheer diversity she is able to observe on a daily basis. Mrs. Santoro tries to inspire students to work as hard as they can, take school seriously, and eventually find a career that they love. She emphasizes the idea of finding something that you are good at, but also to enjoy it and advises students to not give up while learning. As for her hobbies, Mrs. Santoro likes to garden, cook, and spend time with her dog.
By SHIVAM KAMAT, sophomore
MRS. SUTTER is a retiring math teacher at JP. She has taught for 32 years in the Edison Township and nine years here at JP. Being the first in her family to go to college, she was educated at Rutgers for both an undergrad in mathematics and a major in statistics. Mrs. Sutter currently teaches all statistics classes. One of the things she enjoys most about working at JP is the ability to see 200 different students everyday and have a changing work atmosphere. She tries to teach her students the ability to problem solve. Another thing Mrs. Sutter tries to instill in her students is effort within the classroom. She hopes that all her students can find something they really enjoy to pursue as a career. Mrs. Sutter loves to travel, hike, and go biking. Finally, she would like to thank her colleagues who have been great to her. She hopes that students recognize that she appreciates what they do for the school in making it special.
By SHIVAM KAMAT, sophomore